Speaking on the Transformative Power of Yoga, bringing Yoga to the streets and Yoga as a healing modality for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a somatic and neuroscience perspective. We talked about how pervasive stress is in our culture and the importance of maintaining a healthy nervous system. Kids these days don’t have any of the tools to move through the challenges they find themselves facing, and through connecting with breath and movent Yoga can be a transformative tool.
A Yoga Story:
As a three year old, my dad used to take me into the forest, helped me find a “thinking spot” and would leave me to sit, alone. These moments were my introduction to yoga and meditation. There are photos of me meditating in trees as a preteen. Looking back, I wonder if I was a yogi before I knew what yoga was, leading me to believe yoga comes from nowhere but your Self.
I grew up a latch-key kid in a forest on a lake in North Idaho. Having a one-on-one relationship with nature continued my early education into yoga, experiencing, observing and playing with all the elements and cycles. At thirteen, my dad began practicing yoga due to debilitating conditions from years of hard work, resolving to heal himself. The only class offered in our small town was in a women’s group. He brought me as a ticket in.
I continued studying with various teachers through high school and university, using yoga to help me navigate through NUMEROUS challenges. I grew to understand and respect the transformative nature of hard times and the patience and kindness required to watch yourself keep g(r)o(w)ing.
At the University of Oregon, faculty allowed me to focus on yoga as part of my degree. The more I learned about psychology, counseling, biology, physics, metaphysics, alternative medicines and therapies, the more I became convinced that yoga is an intelligent and effective response to contemporary “problems”.
I focused on yoga and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interning and later working for The Trauma Healing Project in Eugene. I began to see yoga as a powerful tool for activism, as a method of starting with the individual.
I started teaching yoga shortly after graduating, first only to friends in warehouse spaces or outside in public parks, while studying long distance with Atma, who offered a unique, small training curriculum focusing on yoga psychology. In these post-graduate years, my studies took me to Anusara, Tias Little, Erich Schiffman, Dave Curtis and other honorable teachers all over the world. I became certified by Off the Mat Into the World and Street Yoga, focusing on incarcerated, homeless, recovering and troubled youth.
Through all of this yoga stuff, I recovered a certain creativity and freedom in my practice. In studio environments, I began teaching my personal practice, drawing from lessons from nature, allowing more expressive movements, using a technical language of energetics and a focus on balancing male and female energies in the body. The healing that has taken place in my own life is empowering. Change is a wonderful thing!
My practice continues to change with every new phase of growth. I teach in studios, non-profits, public schools, juvenile detention centers and in private homes.